Pawsome Hamilton The Musical

Woof, it’s me guide dog Fletcher! I’m back. It’s been a tough few months. So I wanted to share with you yesterday’s mega day out. We went to see ‘Hamilton The Musical’ in London. It was pawsome.

As part of making theatre accessible to those who are blind or partially sighted, we went to an audio described performance of Hamilton. The firm Vocal Eyes had been commissioned to sort this. They had also arranged a touch tour to bring their audio descriptions to life – I got to go on the touch tour.

I was In the room where it happened. Here I am on the Victoria Palace Theatre stage where Hamilton was showing.

Me guide dog Fletcher in my white guide dog harness and red lead contrasting nicely against wood block stage floor of Hamilton The Musical London. @pawsatthekerb

I met some of the show’s cast and crew. They started off by lining up in a row (shown by photo) and introducing themselves to everyone. And extra information was provided by the Vocal Eyes team. I’ll tell you more about three of the cast in a moment.

Hamilton audio described performance touch touch with some of the cast and Vocal Eyes team. Jefferson character is in centre describing his purple outfit. More details in next photo.@pawsatthekerb.

After the intro, actress Ellena Vincent stepped out of the line up to greet us. She’s in the ensemble and was in a fine gold coat over a corset and leggings. She brilliantly described her costume and let Fiona, my pawtastic human, feel all the detailing on her clothes. Of course, I had to have a photo with her.

Me guide dog Fletcher in harness lying down in front of the pawsome Ellena Vincent star of Hamilton The Musical London. She's in a gold coat with puffy sleeves, buttoned up over a tight corset and paler leggings. She's semi kneeling. @pawsatthekerb

You simply must meet Thomas. Thomas!“. Well, it would be rude not to. Here I am with President Thomas Jefferson who was decked out in rich expensive purple cloth. Jason Pennycooke, who plays the characters Jefferson and Lafayette, had a woofderful laugh and wicked humour.

Me guide dog Fletcher in my white guide dog harness with its blue and yellow flash with Hamilton The Musical star Jason Pennycooke in his President Thomas Jefferson outfit. All purple and shiny with a lacy white bow tie and neckchief. I'm in front lying down with Jason behind me. We're on the wood block stage floor. There's a posh chair just out of picture with gold legs. @pawsatthekerb

Afterwards, I got to meet the main man. I barked: What’s your name man?” “Alexander Hamilton!. Jamael Westman who plays Hamilton gave me pawtastic fusses. He was very tall and down to earth. He was gentle with me and took the time to make me feel special.

Me guide dog Fletcher. Well just my head tilted up and looking at Jamael Westman who's looking down at me. He's Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton The Musical London. He's in a light tan suede long coat with brass buttons. Cream waistcoat with white frilly neckchief. Props of buckets and hats in background. @pawsatthekerb

I even got a little scratch from Jamael.

Me guide dog Fletcher getting a neck scratch during our touch tour. You've got an arm and leg of Hamilton. He's got black tall boots with brown trim. Cream breeches and light tan suede coat. @pawsatthekerb

It was all very exciting. Did you say guide dog stage left? Must dash Jamael. Oops, sorry about the photo.

Oops photo of me guide dog Fletcher. I got so excited that I forgot myself and moved away from Jamael who's bent down smiling next to me. My head is missing. You've just got a bit of my body in the photo. @pawsatthekerb

There were eight of us guide dogs present. Of course, I had to sniff the others out and give a waggy tail.

Me guide dog Fletcher after dashing off. You've got me standing up head away from you. My head is checking out a fellow guide dog. You can't see his head either. We've both got gold fur. We're excited. @pawsatthekerb

We kept our humans on their toes to stop our leads getting tangled in all the excitement.

Me guide dog Fletcher from above doing a meet and greet with two other guide dogs. I've gold fur. To my left and part out of picture is a light almost white furred guide dog. On my right is the hed of a shiny black furred guide dog. You've got feet, a white cane and wood block flooring in the background. @pawsatthekerb

Then Andy (my human no.2) and I discovered some goblets and muskets for Fiona to touch. This meant that she could get even more out of her theatre experience. After all, she can’t see much of what’s happening on stage during the performance. (In case you’re wondering, she sees some colours but hasn’t a clue what the colours are as everything is distorted and blurry. As to being able to see goblets and muskets on stage, impossible).

Head of me guide dog Fletcher from above sniffing out 2 grey plain goblets and the barrels of two muskets with gold trim on a dark wooden box. @pawsatthekerb

I got a bit worried when I found the corset. Didn’t want anyone putting that on me.

Me guide dog Fletcher. Well my head again. I'm staring up at you with my dark brown eyes and pink nose. I'm pin sharp. Blurred in the background behind me is a pale cream corset on a fabric bench with gold and murky blue swirls. @pawsatthekerb

I’d be happy to try on this gorgeous robe belonging to King George.

Me guide dog Fletcher from above at the bottom of your photo. The main part of the photo is taken up with King George's fine robe. It's got white trimming with black baubles. Feels like fake fur. Then there's gold shiny metallic ribbon in swirls. Then gold panels. And just in shot there's red velvet. Very nice. @pawsatthekerb

And the wooden stage set was pretty woofderful too.

I'm not in this photo. We're looking at the back of heads of touch tour audience. Then up to a wooden balcony. A bit of the stage sides and main back wall. Then up again at the black spotlights. @pawsatthekerb

High paw and thanks to the Hamilton cast and crew plus Vocal Eyes team for a pawsome touch tour and introduction to Hamilton.

It was then off to be looked after by the theatre staff during the performance. Whilst I was offered the opportunity to see ‘Hamilton The Musical’, Fiona thought it might be too loud for me. Besides there was no space for me to sit – let alone lie down – by her seat.

My humans, Fiona and Andy, said ‘Hamilton The Musical’ was wooftastic. Definitely five stars.

After some expert guiding by me through the theatre crowds, it was time for home. What better way to pass the journey by catching up on some snoozing…

Me guide dog Fletcher out of harness fast asleep. You've got my head resting on the vinyl floor which is raised and has a silver metal trim. My front paw is resting on the black boot of my human. I was tired. @pawsatthekerb

Woof and paw. Guide dog Fletcher.

(c) pawsatthekerb™, February 2019.

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Sad times continued

Woofy thank you for all your kind messages! This blog post follows on the back of yesterday’s post. These double blog posts are in remembrance of two people close to us who died within twenty-four hours of each other. And to mark my guiding during sad times, tough times. The stuff that doesn’t often get covered.

Don’t worry; my next adventures will make you smile.

As I was woofing, it’s been a tough few months for all of us. Us being me, guide dog Fletcher, and my pawtastic humans, Fiona and Andy. Fiona’s had two operations. The last one was not that long ago. She’s got another month or so of recovery. Yes. I’ve done a lot of guiding in hospitals this year. And of course I’ve been good and settled quickly.

Me guide dog Fletcher as seen through the side bars of a hospital bed. There's an alarm bell in the foreground. I'm lying sown out of harness staring up at you. I'm a golden labrador Golden Retriever cross. @pawsatthekerb

Now as if having two people close to us dying wasn’t enough, when I was out guiding Fiona, I saw another dog get badly hit by a car. I was very shaken up by what I saw. I couldn’t really process it. I just wanted to be with my humans. I got upset when I saw people I didn’t know and I had to stop working for a while. Fiona and Andy thought it best to cancel our holiday. With support, I’m a lot better now and back in harness. Yes, my paws are back at the kerb.

And riding a golf buggy-type vehicle this week.

Me guide dog Fletcher peeking out at you from under my human's legs. I'm in a halti and you get to see only my face. To the side is the grey path flashing by. I'm in a golf buggy-type vehicle. Though that's difficult to tell. You see the grey dress of my human to the left of me. @pawsatthekerb

Yes, this was a first for me. And it was a tight fit.

Me guide dog Fletcher lying down under my human's legs. You're looking down at my human's legs and dress which is grey. I'm laid out flat on a golf buggy type vehicel. you can just tell I'm lying down flat with my head just over the buggy's edge. @pawsatthekerb

And a bit snug getting off.

Me guide dog Fletcher in harness getting off a golf buggy type vehicle. You're looking down on me. I'm halfway getting off and in between two rows of seats. I'ts an action shot so a bit blurry. Me I'm a Labrador Golden Retriever cross. @pawsatthekerb

We were going to an undisclosed location for the scattering of ashes of the two people close to us who died earlier. I did some all-terrain guiding and still managed to find the seat.

Ah the find the seat. Yes this is me guide dog Fletcher in my harness and halti standing by a seat. I had to do some all terrain guiding for this one. We're outside on grass and leaves. @pawsatthekerb

We were amongst some wooftastic trees (and stop right there, I can guess what you might be thinking. I did not leave a souvenir. Tempted. But no). Permission had been granted for the scattering of the ashes. The place felt just right.

Two trees. One in the foreground has a shrub to the side of it. Grey ashes circle the tree and the shrub. You see just part of the tree trunk. The ground has leaves on it. @pawsatthekerb

Once again, I was on paw to comfort Fiona. You see there’s more to being a guide dog than guiding.

Me guide dog Fletcher and my human. I'm out of harness and still know how to provide comfort. I'm sitting down. You get my side profile. I've raised one paw to my human you has it in her hand. We're looking at each other. She's on a wooden bench outside with trees in the background. The bench has bags on it. One's blue the other is red. @pawsatthekerb

It was a physically and emotionally tiring day. At the end of it all, there was only one thing for it. I just had to snooze with my favourite cuddly toy, Barney the bear.

A sleepy me. That's me as in guide dog Fletcher. I'm lying on dark purple qirly carpet. I'm a golden Labrador Golden Retriever cross. And I'm stretched out with my aws wrapped round a brown cuddly bear toy. @pawsatthekerb

Paws in sadness, Guide dog Fletcher.

(c) pawsatthekerb™, September 2018.


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Sad times

Woof, I’m back! Yes, it’s me guide dog Fletcher. First a big woofy apology for the pause in my blog posts. When you read this blog post, I hope you’ll understand why.

It’s been a tough few months this end. Definitely sad times. My human, the pawtastic Fiona, says “we’re juggling a lot of curve balls still”. I’m not sure what she means because they sound fun and it hasn’t been. Two people very close to us got ill earlier this year and then died within twenty-four hours of each other. I saw each of them just hours before they died. I’m in mourning.

Me guide dog Fletcher indoors lying on a blanket with pink, blue, yellow, orange squares. I'm out of harness and my head in under another blanker. This blank is purple. There is a black kong to the bottom of the photo. @pawsatthekerb

I got to guide Fiona around a lot of new places and had to concentrate hard. Some of this was during the “Beast from the East” and “Mini Beast from the East” snow storms. Remember them?! Lots of paws in the snow. And when we got to our destination, sometimes I didn’t get a chance to get in my usual snoozing. For often we were visiting hospital wards which were quite noisy with people coming and going. There were also people ill in beds shouting out unexpectedly. I had to keep one eye open just in case Fiona needed me.

Fast-forward in time and I guided Fiona to the double funeral. Now they certainly didn’t cover this in the Guide Dogs for the Blind training manual. Human no. 2, Andy, was also on paw to lend support. Thankfully no snow this time. Just the start of soaring temperatures. The closed funeral took place at Golders Green Crematorium, London.

Me guide dog Fletcher in guiding mode. You just see my golden head. I'm looking to the side and in the background is bright green grass. In the distance is the brick building that is Golders Green Crematorium. It is a long building with arches and a central tower. @pawsatthekerb

I was very good during the service even though Fiona was upset.

Me guide dog Fletcher lying down looking up at you. I'm in my guide dog harness and have a red lead. I'm a golden fur Labrador Golden Retriever cross. I'm lying down on marble floor with marble steps behind me. You can just see the corner of my human's dress as she sits on the pew. @pawsatthekerb

I liked the way the sunshine rays touched the coffins.

Two raised wooden coffins side by side with roses on top. The rays of the sun are catching the coffins and the stain glass window behind them.

And in case you’re wondering about the photos. The funeral was very private and the photos were taken to help Fiona later figure out what was going on; her eyesight is very bad and she barely gets an impression of her surroundings. That’s why she needs me. I also provide impawtant emotional support.

Me guide dog Fletcher and my human from the back. I'm guiding her in harness. And what you can't tell from the photo is that I'm providing her with emotional support too. We're walking down a brick corridor which has arches to the left. The sun is shining on the memorial stones of the dearly departed. @pawsatthekerb

Now the two people who died were great travellers and loved visiting places. And Golders Green Crematorium is steeped in history. I don’t know how it came about but we ended-up getting an informal private tour with Eric Willis, Head of Maintenance, who also shared some of his pawsome poetry with us.

Me guide dog Fletcher looking reflective with Eric Willis from Golders Green Crematorium. I'm in my guide dog harness and have golden fur. Eric has grey hair, white skin and is wearing a black short sleeved shirt with black trousers. In the distance are roses which smelled lovely and the brickwork of the crematorium. @pawsatthekerb

It makes me feel a little less sad that the two people close to us had their funeral at the same place as the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, the ballerina Anna Pavlova, the musician Marc Bolan and the writer Bram Stoker amongst others.

Collage of memorials and ashes containers of Sigmund Freud. He has a brown marble column with his name and an urn on top and is behind glass. Anna Pavlova's oval urn with a ballerina and swan to either side. Marc Bolan's memorial plates on a brick wall. One plate is cream and circular the other is black with gold writing. At the bottom of the photo is a coffin shaped urn for Bram Stoker and family. @pawsatthekerb

The informal tour was a beautiful way to reflect on the dearly departed. I think the spirits of the two people who died somehow made it happen…

Paws in sadness,

Guide dog Fletcher

P.S. Given that the two people close to us died within a day of each other, I’ll also blog tomorrow in remembrance of them.

P.P.S. Our sympathies also go out to our four-pawed friends at the Bunnington Post on the loss of dear Haas.

(c) pawsatthekerb, August 2018; updated September 2018.